Private fostering occurs when a parent arranges or agrees for their child to be cared for by someone other than themselves or close relatives of the child for more than 28 days. A close relative means a step-parent, grandparent, brother or sister, aunt or uncle by blood, marriage or civil partnership. A child is anyone under the age of 16 or a disabled young person under 18.
To keep children and young people safe, the Government has made it the law for anyone who is looking after someone else's child to inform their local children's services.
The Families, Adopters and Carers Team (FACT) need to be aware of the start date and reason for the arrangement with names, addresses, contact details and dates of birth of each child, their parents, carers and any other children over 16 in the household.
Why we get involved
To help keep children safe and support families, all parents, private foster carers and professionals must notify us of private fostering arrangements.
This is because we have a legal duty to safeguard the wellbeing of all children (the Children Regulations 2005, Private Arrangements for Fostering).
Within private fostering arrangements FACT should also be made aware if there are any changes to arrangements, for example, if the child and carers change address, if there are any safeguarding concerns or if the child returns to the care of their parents.
What Sheffield Families Adopters and Carers Team (FACT) will do to help
When we are notified of a private fostering arrangement the FACT team will work together with the child, the parents and the private foster carers to ensure that the best possible arrangements are in place for the child, including:
- listening to what the child wants
- arranging for a worker to support the child and the carer(s)
- helping carer(s) to fill in the necessary forms to apply to be a private foster carer
- helping to ensure that the child’s cultural, linguistic and religious needs are being met
- workers are required to undertake regular visits to see the child and their carer(s)
- workers offer support and advice and can signpost to other agencies as necessary
If we think the arrangement is unsuitable we will decide what action to take to safeguard the child’s welfare